Area Observances Set for Veteran’s Day — Our Thanks to Those Who Served

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This coming week marks the occasion of Veterans Day 2021 and for the 10th year now, the Bryan Rotary Club will arrange 1,000 flags in a “salute to service” at Veterans Park in College Station to create a Field of Valor. This is the 100th anniversary year of Bryan Rotary Club serving our area and the service they offer our community continues to grow.

This year there’s an exciting program for area fifth grade students called “Statue Match,” where students study all the history information panels and statues along the American History Trail of Veterans Park, and they can learn what each statue represents.

On Veterans Day itself, beginning at 5:30 pm on Thursday, November 11, will be the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Louis L. Adam Memorial Plaza of Veterans Park. New names added to the Brazos Valley Memorial since last year will be recognized in a reading of the names recently added—the “Honor Wall Roll Call.”

If you have a loved one whose name you’d like to add, August 15th each year is the annual deadline to provide the information form and payment for the coming Veterans Day observance.

There’s a majestic presence felt at the Veterans Park as the crowd hears the National Anthem and our state song, “Texas Our Texas,” sees the Rifle Salute of the Aggie elite corps group, the Ross Volunteers, and then “Taps” is played. One tip is to arrive early before the 5:30 pm start time to secure a good parking space.

The weekend following Veteran’s Day, the Museum of the American G.I. will host “History in Motion,” the weekend of November 13 and 14. Children and adults of all ages will delight in watching tanks and other vehicles moving over ground and weapons will be demonstrated. Inside the museum is an amazing collection of military vehicles. It’s a great family activity. We look forward to seeing you there.

Have you noticed, when you are out shopping in town, a group of distinguished gentlemen of senior age, and they are sporting baseball caps that indicate their branch of service and any particular battle or conflict they might have served in? It’s easy to pass them by unless you are looking.

I remember being at a Veteran’s Day observance and noticing how many local residents we know from other aspects of our life and searching their faces, you’d likely never known what they went through in the course of their service to our country.

Many have faces with lines burned into wrinkles but their eyes shine when they see our U.S. flag flying in town. They’re the ones who know the real meaning of the flag, because when they were thousands of miles away from home, the only thing that “said” home or brought them a sense of home were those flags.

Most of us don’t know what it’s like to spend the night or any amount of time in a foxhole. We don’t have medals that show all the conflicts that we’ve been in. We don’t know what it’s like to march for the 25th mile that day, with a backpack weighted down with supplies that will sustain us for a few days.

Several friends have sons and daughters who are just through their first round of bootcamp, having just entered the service following their high school careers. They go through sleep deprivation, endure extreme cold and heat, go without food that gives strength, and it’s the ultimate test of endurance, and yet each young adult knows that going in. They’re at top physical performance because of their youth. They can run, they don’t have to jog.

But there’s a psychological component to military service that they are unprepared for and that is to lose a dear friend or even a member of their unit as a casualty of war. They don’t know what it’s like to lose a limb in battle or even in operations designed to simulate war. There’s an equal need to thank those who have not seen combat but who signed on to prepare to keep our nation safe.

Most Veterans keep their thoughts and memories silent. Instead, you’ll see them holding bundles of small American flags, planting them in containers in graveyards many times of the year, especially on Memorial Day when we honor those who lost their lives in service to our country.

Veteran’s Day is a day we thank all who volunteered to serve or who answered the call when their country sought their participation. You all are to be honored more than just a few days a year.

It may seem to you to just be “a thing you say” but whenever you see a young person on a plane or anywhere wearing combat fatigues, it means a lot to hear, “Thank you for your service.” We can’t say it enough, whether Veteran’s Day or every day. Our community is truly blessed by all of you being a part of our lives.

Cody D. Jones ‘02

Owner & Community Resident